IWPR’s Research News Reporter is distributed monthly to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families. Each selection includes a short description of the research and either a link to the report or a citation.
Tori Finkle, Heidi Hartmann, Sunhwa Lee, and Barbara Gault
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
This series of fact sheets by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research examines the economic well-being of seniors in Michigan, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California. Using data from the 2002-2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, the fact sheets provide demographic and financial data at the state level for men and women aged 65 and older. These fact sheets illuminate a common story for older women and people of color in the United States, despite differences among the states examined, and they point to the critical role Social Security benefits play in the lives of older Americans.
IWPR’s analysis shows that:
Findings from these fact sheets reveal a great need for policy that addresses the economic security of older Americans, and particularly those who are most vulnerable to poverty in old age.
The full fact sheets can be found at
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Chinué Turner Richardson and Elizabeth Nash
Guttmacher Policy Review
Fall 2006, Volume 9, Number 4
This article analyzes abortion counseling materials developed under the direction of state legislatures across the United States. Such materials have been mandated under the medical ethics principle of informed consent, which is intended to provide patients with the unbiased and accurate information necessary to make sound judgments regarding the medical care they receive. An investigation of all fifty states in July 2006 found that twenty-two state health departments had developed materials under state mandates. The information provided in these materials was compared to recent medical findings and research about the effects of abortion, specifically related to the risk of breast cancer, psychological impact, and fetal pain.
The main findings of the investigation include:
The authors conclude that although much of the information provided by abortion-counseling materials is aligned with scientific findings, some content disregards medical ethics of informed consent by providing misleading or incorrect information. This information is designed to discourage women from having abortions. They argue that by shaping materials to support an anti-abortion goal, policymakers and public health officials have privileged politics over public health and principles of informed consent.
The full article is available at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/09/4/gpr090406.pdf
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Martha S. West and John W. Curtis
American Association of University Professors
In their new report, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), provides data on faculty gender equity on America’s college and university campuses. The AAUP has been tracking women’s progress in higher education since the enactment of Title IX in 1972. Using data from the AAUP’s own Faculty Compensation Survey and the Department of Education on a large number of diverse institutions, the AAUP developed a new set of gender equity measures to illustrate women’s status in academia. The authors identify four indicators, including employment status, tenure status, full professor rank, and average salary. The report provides data from the 2005-2006 academic year for individual schools of different institution types (i.e., doctoral, masters, baccalaureate, and associate degree-granting institutions), as well as data for the nation as a whole.
The study finds:
The authors conclude that gender equity in faculty appointments has not progressed at the same rate as women’s achievements in higher education over the past several decades. The data raise many questions as to why gender disparities persist in academia, and the authors hope that their analyses will invigorate collaborative and meaningful explorations of the subject at the local level.
The full article is available at http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/research/geneq2006
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Karen Schulman and Helen Blank
National Women’s Law Center
This report by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) provides follow-up on previous analyses of state child care assistance policies conducted by the National Women’s Law Center in 2005 and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) in 2001. The NWLC conducted interviews with state child care administrators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in February 2006, focusing on four policy areas related to child care assistance—income eligibility limits, waiting lists, parent co-payments, and reimbursement rates. They then compare their results with those of their 2005 report and with the 2001 analysis by CDF to draw out any changes in the provision of child care assistance. The report shows mixed results across states and policy areas, and emphasizes that much more must be done to improve access to childcare among low-income families.
Findings from the report include:
While some states showed small improvements, the NWLC concludes that the current services available to low income families remain inadequate in far too many cases around the country. The report notes that the 2006 reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program introduces stricter work requirements for families on welfare, increasing the number of families that will need child care assistance, and emphasizes the importance of strong state investment in child care policies for low-income families both on and off of welfare.
The full report can be found at: http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/StateChildCareAssistancePoliciesReport2006.pdf
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